Day 5 Luchon – Llavorsi

06/08/10 (364 miles)

“Spanish drivers are also the most patient behind the wheel, which I found hard to believe, expecting the feisty Spanish temperament and possible impatience with doddering GB plated bikes wobbling along the roads.”

Not far to ride today thankfully, as H still not in high spirits. Beautifully clear day overhead with a great view of the mountaintops, where paragliders are jumping into the air looking so peaceful. However the developing abscess in my mouth is getting worse, so decide to get it sorted here as our French although v.poor, is still better than our Spanish. I get a list of doctors from the campsite, then pack and ride into town to discover all closed until 13.30 at the earliest…it was now 11.40. So nothing else to do but grab some coffee, write my only postcard home (we forgot our address books), plan routes, phone medical insurance people and dentist to get some info. Eventually I get seen and prescribed a week’s worth of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory tablets, pain killers and anti-septic mouthwash…all for 64 Euros.

Pont de la Bonaigua…

We head out on the D618 to Vielha seeing many more bikers along the roads, then join the C13 to Llavorsi after filling up again. Before setting off I notice another daunting looking climb to Pont de la Bonaigua the highest yet at 2072m! This climb was different in it twisted up the side of a rock face, rather than anything more picturesque and was STEEP. I was beginning to get more used to these roads now for some bizarre reason, whereas H was going the other way unfortunately. On one particularly gnarly right hand corner, it must have been a good 12% incline which caught her out and stalled the bike. No other traffic luckily, so I managed to start it and get it to the side of the road were we rested for a minute. (Another car managed to stall here shortly afterwards too…steep.)

We eventually made it to the top which is clearly a ski-resort and pull into the resort car park to observe the horses wandering aimlessly around the area with big bells around their necks.

The ride down was a better experience than in France though, as all roads were double width with barriers on the outside. Spanish drivers are also the most patient behind the wheel, which I found hard to believe expecting the feisty Spanish temperament and possible impatience with doddering GB plated bikes wobbling along the roads. However to the contrary, when they drove up behind us they would sometimes drop back a bit, but 99.9% would wait patiently until there was a clear overtaking spot. After the descent, the final 15 miles to Llavorsi were quite relaxed (I thought), although Helen was highly stressed with a traffic jam of cars behind her, as the lead car was being ‘too’ patient and not overtaking.

Llavorsi campsite…

We finally reached our potential base camp for the next few days, as it was the starting spot for Austin’s PyrekneesUp. Nice chilled atmosphere by a river, with a fair few Spanish campers there relaxing, but all set beside a huge pylon plant. Once camp was setup a group of French trail riders arrived after a day on the trails, half of whom are on DRZ’s. We head into town to suss out the town, which is high stacked against the hills and cobbled stone lanes. After a couple of drinks, we decide to buy our food at the campsite, but realise they’re only doing sandwiches, resulting in one scrambled egg sarnie and a nice burger, washed down with more beers. Decision is made then to move onto the next campsite at Sort recommended by Pompy at the HU meeting back in Derbyshire, where we will relax for the day before hitting the trails on the Sunday.

The bar nearby fills up and revelry begins, so I polish off the wine, earplugs in and crash-time.

Day 6: Llavorsi – Sort

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